The chaos of the world — or at least New York City — makes a little more sense with Difficult People in it. So, thank goodness Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner are back with season three, premiering on Hulu this week (August 8).
In the first two seasons, we followed besties Julie and Billy as they pursued careers in entertainment. Aaand they’re still at it. It’s not clear if they’ll ever get their big break, but at least they have each other as they stumble, blame and mean-tweet their way through life.
If you’re having a bad day, this show may act as a pick-me-up, because Julie and Billy are almost definitely having it worse. But, somehow, they’re able to make lemons into vodka-lemonades on the rocks.
Here’s 10 reasons why we find the show — namely its dysfunctional double act — highly addictive:
1. They’re super confident.
Possibly a little too much. But unabashed confidence can come in handy when you’re trying to make it in show business. Like the time the two produced a play and as part of the promotion, the flier said it was better than Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Hamilton. Correction: the flier said, “Lin-Manuel Miranda says it’s better than Hamilton.” OK, so, their confidence may include some fibbing, or, bold-face lying. But, we’ll turn a blind eye because it’s part of their charm.
2. They’re adaptable.
These two are told “no” over and over. And, sure, when you’re pursuing a career in the “biz,” rejection comes with the territory. They might gripe a little, but those sour feelings can turn into something productive, helping hone Julie’s comedy writing and Billy’s auditions. We love it most when they “workshop” those feeling by unloading on the people in their lives — namely Billy’s employers (he’s a server in a restaurant by day), colleagues and customers — and Julie’s long-suffering boyfriend Arthur (James Urbaniak). It’s a cycle for them, and a little vicious for those on the fringe of their friendship.
3. Their loyalty is unsurpassable.
They’re very committed to each other and everyone else can bugger off. Yes, Julie lives with her longtime boyfriend, but really, Billy comes first. Poor Arthur knows and accepts his ranking. Remember when Kate McKinnon guest starred on the show as a comedian-magician and unsolicitedly pulled a coin out of Billy’s ear? Julie jumped in, demanding to know, “What the hell are you doing to my friend?” Think she’d have gone on the offensive if it was Arthur’s ear? She’d probably offer up his other one if it benefited she and Billy in some way.
4. They fight back.
When Julie’s mother (Andrea martin) introduces her at a party, saying, “My daughter is a comedian. [Insert dramatic pause.] Technically. That’s one of the reasons I don’t have grandchildren,” Julie gives a half an eye roll but let’s the berating comment roll off her shoulders. In season three, we actually see Julie give it back to her mom, when her therapist advises her to face her fears, or, more specifically, “Become your fear.” Julie reminds him, “My fear is becoming my mother!” Still, she takes his advice and starts acting all helicopter-y, giving unhelpful advice, touching on her mom’s insecurities, and… the power play works.
5. They say what everyone else is thinking.
If you commute to work by hitting the pavement, you’ve probably screamed in your head, “Share the sidewalk!” Oof. It’s hard out there. But both Julie and Billy actually come out and announce it. “Why don’t you watch where you’re going?,” Billy once snapped at a passerby on the street. Then there was the time someone asked Julie to take her picture and she replied, “No, I’m not touching that camera. I don’t want swine flu.” You can’t help but admire their ability to spit out comebacks at a moment’s notice.
6. They’re staunch underdogs.
If they were super successful, Julie and Billy’s sitcom story would be over. Or if not over, then different. And definitely not as funny. As they work, and work, and continue to work, in a hopelessly flawed, deliberately jarring way, we go along with them, laughing so hard at times we can’t even focus on the screen. But we sincerely hope, when — not if — their dreams do come true that we’re not there to see it. Because other people’s success, as Billy and Julie would be the first to tell you, is the worst.
7. They’re brutally honest.
But at least Julie delivers her insults with a smile. In a rare heart-to-heart, her boyfriend reminds her, “You know I follow the food blogs.” She responds, lovingly, with this warm expression, “I know, I hate that about you.” Billy, on the other hand, doesn’t hide his disdain. Like when customers present him with typical restaurant-type queries he responds, “I don’t know, but what fun questions!” He seems to get away with it, though.
8. They aren’t above begging.
These two think they’re better than everyone else. We know this because they regularly say things that, reading between the lines, mean, “We’re better than everyone else.” But, even so, they aren’t above, well, anything, really… not if it’ll help their bid to hit it big time. The two attend a party that may or may not contain entertainment insiders, and they quietly mutter, in tandem, through gritted teeth, “Please give us a show. Please give us a show.” They’re not sure who to address, so they just put it out there, with the hopes someone influential picks up on their
desperation public pitching.
9. They’re unpredictable.
At one point, Julie and Billy found themselves on the other side of the Hudson River, specifically Hoboken, NJ. It’s not far from Manhattan yet they felt very, very removed from what they knew. Even so, they adapted to their surroundings. Maybe a little too well, picking up on their NJ neighbors’ traits and pretending to be locals. UNTIL, they were outed as interlopers. Pretty much every episode finds them in some odd predicament. And, it doesn’t necessarily end well for them, which keeps us viewers on our toes: “How. Are. They. Going. To. Get. Out. Of. This?” we wonder, watching with our hands partly over our eyes.
10. They’re back and haven’t changed a bit.
In the season three opener, we find Julie and Billy protesting a live televised musical event, Bazinga in the Park, starring the cast of The Big Bang Theory. Their storming the stage lands them in orange jumpers, picking up garbage on the side of the road. A dude in a convertible pulls up and addresses them: “Hey, do you outside janitors know where the Trump statue is?” We’ve seen Julie and Billy give people the wrong directions, for their own pleasure, but this time they toss their rubbish in the man’s car. It’s a beautiful moment. We can’t wait to see what else the third season brings…
Do you think Julie and Billy are the difficult people? Or, is it everyone else?Read More